Wednesday , Jan , 31 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Nets, Pistons tangle at the Meadowlands

(Sports Network) – The two teams sitting on the top of their respective
divisions clash at the Continental Airlines Arena tonight, when the Detroit
Pistons visit the New Jersey Nets.

The Nets, at 22-23, are deadlocked with Toronto for the top spot in the
Atlantic division, while the Pistons (25-18) are a mere .003 percentage points
ahead of Chicago and Cleveland for the lead in the Central. Both the Bulls and
Cavs sit at 26-19.

The Pistons have won both matchups this season with the Nets, including a
92-91 win in their most recent meeting on December 26. In that tilt, Chauncey
Billups hit a pair of free throws from the line with seven seconds left and
Vince Carter’s open look for the Nets from 18 feet failed to drop through as
Detroit held on.

Detroit has had the upper hand in the series as of late, having won three of
four and seven of the last 10 against the Nets. The Pistons have also won nine
of their last 13 in New Jersey.

The Nets come into the game off of a thrilling 116-115 victory over the Utah
Jazz that saw Carter drill a 34-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.

Carter ended with 33 points — 29 coming in the second half — while Jason
Kidd totaled 22 points, six rebounds and 10 assists for the Nets, who were
concluding a five-game road trip. The club dropped the first three games of
the lengthy trek before rebounding to win the final two.

Kidd finished the game 3-of-7 from three-point range and is just seven treys
shy of passing Kerry Kittles (679 three-pointers) for the club’s all-time mark
in three-point field goals made.

The Nets have won six of their last nine games and have posted a 13-10 mark as
the host this year. New Jersey has won five in a row at home, but returns to
the road again on Friday to play Orlando.

New Jersey also continues to play without forward Richard Jefferson, who is
out indefinitely after undergoing right ankle surgery. The franchise is 5-6
this season without Jefferson in the lineup.

Detroit plays the second of back-to-back road games tonight. The Pistons fell
to the Wizards 104-99 behind the strength of 36 points, 11 assists and seven
rebounds by the Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas.

Chauncey Billups notched 24 points and eight assists for the Pistons, who have
lost two of three. Tayshaun Prince netted 19 points, while Richard Hamilton
and Rasheed Wallace both added 15.

Detroit is 9-3 in the second contest of back-to-back games.

Detroit, which is a healthy 13-8 on the road this season, return home to host
the Milwaukee on Friday before traveling to Cleveland over the weekend.